Bishan murder: Victim's wife says helper kept asking for money, claimed to be scam victim

Bishan murder: Victim's wife says helper kept asking for money, claimed to be scam victim
The murder took place in a flat at Blk 222 Bishan Street 23.
PHOTO: The Straits Times

A 49-year-old domestic helper was charged in court on Saturday (April 30) with the murder of a 73-year-old man in a Bishan flat.

The murder took place at Blk 222 Bishan Street 23, according to reports.

The victim's wife told Shin Min Daily News that on Thursday, she had returned to her flat that evening to discover the gate unlocked. The unit was also pitch dark inside.

"I went into the bedroom to look for my husband and found him on the bed," said the woman who is in her 60s and surnamed Li. She added that his body was cold and both his hands were in a half-raised position as rigour mortis had set in by then.

Frightened, she ran to her neighbour's flat to seek help. Li called her daughter as well as the police.

The neighbour told Shin Min that Li had knocked on her door crying. "She looked frantic and helpless. The first thing she asked me was if I had seen their maid."


The neighbour said she had accompanied Li back to her home and caught a glimpse of the victim's body before hurriedly leaving the flat in fright.

"I saw him lying on the bed with his head raised. There was no blood," said the 67-year-old woman, who described her long-time neighbours as friendly.

She shared that the victim, identified in reports as Low Hoon Cheong, had been an engineer and drove a taxi to earn an income after retirement.

According to the neighbour, Low's health worsened about five years ago and he became wheelchair-bound about two years ago during the start of the pandemic.

Li told Shin Min that her husband's leg has affected by a nerve issue, which was why the family had hired a helper to take care of him.

The couple have been married for close to 40 years, reported the Chinese evening daily.

When interviewed on Saturday, Li described how she still "feels like crying" at the thought of how her husband is no longer around. 

Requests for money

Li also said that the Indonesian helper, named Sumiyati, was a good worker when she was first employed slightly over two years ago. However, she kept asking Li for money at the start of this year.

"She claimed to be a victim of a scam which was why she asked me for money, but I didn't give it to her," revealed Li, who added that they eventually increased her salary to $700.


Sumiyati was due to return home in September after the end of her contract.

According to another neighbour, Li had complained to her about issues with their helper and shared that they had given her a $50 raise. The neighbour recalled that at the time, she had told Li not to be afraid of Sumiyati and that they could always terminate her employment.

Sumiyati appeared in court on Saturday, where she was charged for the murder of Low sometime between 4pm and 8.46pm on Thursday. 

According to the Shin Min, the accused appeared expressionless with her chest-length hair slightly unkempt, only nodding her head in response to the judge's statements.

If convicted of murder, Sumiyati faces the death penalty.

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